Students Should Shop Around
So Citi launched a new credit card for college students aptly named the “Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to live up to its name, and you can even blame Citi’s other credit card offerings for that.
You see, it just isn’t a very good option when you compare it to other credit cards, including other Citi credit cards.
For one, the opening bonus is a rather weak 2,500 bonus points, which is worth about $25 depending on how you redeem your TYP. And you need to spend $500 to get that measly bonus.
Take the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, which offers a $150 cash back bonus once you spend $500. It also earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
With the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students, you earn 2X TYP on dining out and entertainment, but just one point per dollar everywhere else. So it’ll be tough to earn enough TYP to do anything worthwhile, especially with that weak opening bonus doing you very few favors.
For example, say you spend the required $500 in the first three months to get the 2,500 TYP bonus. And assume you spent that entire $500 in the 2X categories.
That would equate to just 3,500 TYP total, or roughly $35. It might not even be enough points for a minimum redemption at most places.
There’s No Annual Fee on the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students
I guess the upside to this new credit card for college students is that there’s no annual fee. The Citi ThankYou Premier Card for adults has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. But it also comes with additional point-earning categories and a handsome sign up bonus (when it does come around again).
The Preferred Card for College Students also offers 0% APR for seven months on purchases, which again is pretty weak and well below what you’ll find with other credit cards. Again, the Chase Freedom cards offer 15 months of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
For me, the Citi card is only really beneficial if you can’t get approved for a big-boy credit card and you don’t care much about earning rewards. Because chances are you’ll never earn many TYP with regular spending and a presumably conservative spending limit.
If You’re a Student, Look at Discover Instead
Instead, you might want to consider the Discover it for Students, or Discover it chrome for Students card. Both come with at least 1% cash back on all purchases, along with higher-earning multiples in certain categories like gas and restaurants.
Additionally, you might be able to get your cash back doubled the first year as a new cardmember.
In summary, there are a lot of better options floating around for college students, especially for those who want to earn cash back as opposed to gift cards and other nonsense. The last thing you need is more stuff!
Additionally, Discover doesn’t have a minimum redemption amount, so for students who generally don’t spend a lot on their cards, they can still cash in their earned rewards at any time. With the Citi card, you might not earn enough points to get what you want.
The downside to Discover is that it’s not accepted everywhere, which could be a problem if it’s your only credit card, perhaps the norm for a student. The company also tends to be pretty conservative when doling out credit lines.
Still, I think you can do better than this new Citi card.